In the News
April 5, 2012 - Article from BerkeleySide
Newly Cleaned Up Downtown Hopes to Attract More Retail
By: Tracey Taylor
Photo: Nancy Rubin
On Tuesday, downtown Berkeley was born anew. Billed as a fresh start, the heart of the city was relaunched to a capacity crowd in the ballroom of the Hotel Shattuck Plaza on Allston Way.
For the past three months, the Downtown Berkeley Association has been overseeing an ambitious clean-up operation in the center of the city and yesterday’s event was convened to present the results.
Anyone who has been downtown recently won’t fail to have noticed that the place is sparkling. Streets have been power-washed, often in the middle of the night, unsticking countless pieces of gum in the process, 8,500 lbs of trash have been removed, light poles, postal boxes and fire hydrants have been given a new lick of paint and fresh landscaping has appeared. Tree wells now overflow with blooms and 179 flower baskets hang from aloft.
The “Big Splash” campaign is phase one of a five-year plan to make downtown more inviting — to residents, visitors and prospective new businesses — made financially possible by the vote, in June 2011, by downtown property owners to make downtown a Property-Based Improvement District. PBID’s annual budget is $1,207,500, 850,000 of which is allocated to the clean-up and “hospitality” programs.
The presentation of the clean-up operation came on the same day that the Berkeley City Council adopted the seven-years-in-the-making Downtown Area Plan which promises taller buildings and more open spaces in the city center.
The DBA engaged Kentucky-based Block by Block to orchestrate the “Big Splash” program, and new staff have been brought on board to join the existing complement of downtown “ambassadors” who patrol the streets helping solve problems as they arise. Block by Block was selected from a shortlist of seven companies. They have worked in 40 cities across the nation, including in Oakland.
The initiative includes a marketing campaign created by Berkeley-based Radiant Brands centered on the slogan “It Starts Here”. Posters and banners emphasize the area’s existing assets including its many arts venues, the most recent arrival being The Magnes on Allston Way, future cultural destinations such as the BMA/PFA which is slated to relocate to Center and Oxford streets, Berkeley City College, and two new UC Berkeley research buildings.
Susan Medak, Managing Director of the Berkeley Rep Theatre and DBA Board President, said the initiative represented a new beginning for downtown and stressed that the priority now was to keep the momentum going. “Like a beautiful woman, this is a city with great bones. Our task over the next few years is to put great meat on those bones.”
John Caner, Executive Director of the DBA, also stressed the need to prevent things from slipping backwards. “We’ve cleaned up. Now comes the hard part: staying clean,” he said at the presentation.
The DBA’s strategy has been three years in the making and, along with the beautification process, includes a goal of reducing the ground floor vacancy rate downtown to less than 7%. The lack of retail in the center of town, as well as parking issues, are often cited as being significant turn-offs for local residents.
Caner acknowledges that attracting stores to downtown has proved hard in the past. “Retail is tricky,” he says. “People can choose to go to Walnut Creek or Emeryville. But we think if we get the fundamentals right we will get people willing to invest in the area.”
Caner cites the Shattuck-Addison intersection as an example of how businesses can revive an area. Italian restaurant PIQ is a popular haunt, Fantastic Comics and Phil’s Sliders are new arrivals, and upscale Mexican restaurant Comal is due to open there soon. “It’s true that it is mostly restaurant-[rather than retail-] driven,” Caner says, “but that area used to be dreadful.”
Caner points out that two new downtown projects — the Arpeggio building on Center Street and Acheson Commons on University — will likely bring more residents and possibly more businesses to the area.
The issue of panhandlers was not raised at the launch event. Responding to news of a survey conducted by the DBA in October 2011, several Berkeleyside commenters expressed their concern about the presence of homeless people downtown and cited instances of harassment. Caner says the job of the hospitality ambassadors is to monitor behavior on the street and remind people to abide by ordinances if necessary. The staff also work closely with social services, he says, for individual cases.
Informal discussions held this time last year about Berkeley adopting a sit-lie ordinance like the one which was implemented in San Francisco did not lead to any decisions, although it did trigger protests against the concept. At the time, the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, which held the talks, said it was talking to city officials and service providers about getting more street people into programs to help them find permanent housing and mental and medical services.
March 13, 2012 - Press Release From Haas Newsroom
Open for Business: UC Berkeley’s New ‘Skydeck’ Incubator-Accelerator Inspires Startup Companies to Reach Markets Faster
Contact: Pamela Tom or (510) 642 - 2734
Perched in the 10,000 square-foot penthouse of downtown Berkeley’s tallest building, Berkeley Skydeck may have the best 360-degree views in the city, but it’s what is happening inside this new start-up incubator-accelerator that will change the way emerging startups scale up to succeed.
The Berkeley Skydeck start-up accelerator is the genesis of new collaborations between the University of California, Berkeley business and engineering students, professors and scientists, Bay Area entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, the city of Berkeley, and local business leaders.
Every year close to 20 companies are founded based on innovations and people from the campus and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), and the Berkeley Skydeck was established to incubate, accelerate and expand this startup pipeline.
“This initiative is a perfect fit for a campus that is deeply engaged with and concerned about real-world challenges. We have long needed a space to help support the activities of the campus’ many outstanding entrepreneurs,” explains Graham Fleming, UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research.
A collaborative effort between the College of Engineering, the Haas School of Business and the Vice Chancellor for Research Office, Berkeley Skydeck is the campus’ first interdisciplinary startup accelerator-incubator complementing existing spaces run by departments and research institutes.
So far, nine start-up companies have taken residence at the Berkeley Skydeck. Each team is at a different stage of rolling out, but the goal is the same: to develop new products and services for the marketplace. Visits by industry leaders and venture investors to the Skydeck will help strengthen mentoring networks and establish meaningful industry connections early on. The progress of student-led companies will be monitored by UC Berkeley faculty against key milestones established in advance. The goal is to ensure that their startups develop scalability and drive their products and services to market faster than if attempting to grow on their own.
It’s already working.
Mitch Gordon, CEO and co-founder of GoOverseas, a community driven website that provides resources and reviews for travel and study abroad says being a part of the Berkeley Skydeck helps him attract key student talent from UC Berkeley.”Skydeck also gives us credibility when speaking with potential investors and clients because of the university’s stellar reputation,” says Gordon.
Recent Berkeley graduates Sean Ahrens and Will Cole built on their programming backgrounds and Ahrens’ own experience with Crohn’s disease to start HealthyLabs, which builds peer-to-peer networks for people with chronic medical conditions.
“Moving to Skydeck has been an incredible win for us,” says Ahrens. “We’re a block away from the best university in the world. And we’re working on software that has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry by empowering patients. We couldn’t ask for anything better.”
The startups incorporate a mix of UC Berkeley faculty, postdocs, students (undergraduate and graduate) and recent alumni with companies fundable within six to nine months. To join Berkeley Skydeck, each company must apply and compete for a spot in the UC Berkeley Startup Accelerator (UCBSA), sponsored by the business school’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, or the Venture Lab competition at the engineering college’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (CET). Affiliates of the Berkeley Postdoctoral Entrepreneurs Program (BPEP) also have access to the new space.
Teams include: Kloudless, HealthyLabs, GoOverseas, Building Robotics, GoMake.it, Hybrid Wisdom Labs, InSituGen, Intelligent Obstetrics, and Picatcha. More information on the inaugural Skydeck teams may be found on the Berkeley Skydeck website: http://skydeck.berkeley.edu
Berkeley Skydeck’s campus-community partnership aims to support local economic development. The Berkeley Skydeck launch received a $50,000 grant from the Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund to help support the facility’s infrastructure. The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Business Association and the City of Berkeley Office of Economic Development are also partners in the Skydeck effort.
The pipeline of startups graduating from Berkeley Skydeck and spreading across downtown Berkeley, West Berkeley as well as the rest of the East Bay Green Corridor is also expected to enhance the City of Berkeley’s economic vitality, according to Michael Cohen, Skydeck’s executive director.
March 12, 2012 - Article From The Daily Californian
Contentious plan to revitalize Berkeley’s Downtown returns to the City Council
By: Annie Sciacca
Photo by: Gracie Malley
After seven years of extensive planning, Berkeley City Council reviewed Tuesday the latest version of its contentious Downtown Area Plan, which aims to provide guidance for revitalizing that part of the city.
The Downtown Area Plan has been in the works since at least 2005 and looks to bring new economic life to Berkeley’s Downtown. However, community members have been arguing about — and thereby stalling progress of — the plan since its inception, and Tuesday’s meeting was no exception.
At the public hearing portion of the meeting, members of the public debated the plan’s allowance for certain tall buildings in the downtown area, as well as the effects of increasing the population density of the area.
The new plan allows for the construction of four buildings that are up to 120 feet tall, two of which are reserved for UC Berkeley, and three other buildings that can be up to 180 feet tall. It dictates that the city’s tall buildings must provide “significant community benefits,” such as affordable housing, supportive social services, green features and employment opportunities, according to a presentation by the city’s planning commission. They must also meet certain green development requirements.
But some members of the community who spoke at the public hearing said that even this limited number of tall buildings is out of scale with the rest of Berkeley.
Tom Hunt, who spoke at the hearing, described the proposal for tall buildings as “outrageous.” Hunt also expressed his distaste for the high density of people the plan could bring to the Downtown area, which includes the geographic area generally bordered by Hearst Avenue on the north, Fulton Street on the east, Dwight Way on the south and Martin Luther King Jr. Way on the west.
The version of the plan Tuesday actually has fewer tall buildings than previous iterations of the plan, aligning with guidelines from Measure R, which was approved by voters in November 2010. The ballot measure came about after the initial version of the Downtown Area Plan was approved by the council in July 2009, but was rescinded the following year after a referendum campaign against it garnered 9,200 signatures. As an alternative, Measure R put suggestions for how to proceed with the plan up to a vote from the public.
In addition to a limit on the number of tall buildings, Measure R calls for green development standards and parking and transportation management measures.
City planner and Berkeley resident Erin Rhoades said the plan’s alternatives to single-family housing are “good for younger generations who want to live in cities and do not want to drive cars.”
Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates said the council will hear more input from the public next week, , and the council members will vote on whether to approve the plan at their March 20 meeting.
Councilmember Jesse Arreguin, who was against the initial 2009 plan, said he will not oppose this version of the plan, although he submitted a list of questions and amendments to be addressed, including the prohibition of smoke shops and “adult-oriented businesses,” the provision of bike parking for new buildings and ensuring that tall buildings are held to high environmental standards.
A critical component of the new plan is the implementation of fees from new development to fund affordable housing and the creation of parks and recreation facilities, Arreguin said.
“We want to make sure it’s a neighborhood,” he said of the Downtown. “(But also) make it a place the entire Bay Area wants to come to — the country, the world — and make it a destination.”
Annie Sciacca covers city government.
March 6, 2012
DOWNTOWN BERKELEY NEEDS YOUR VOICE ON MARCH 6
Remember voting for Measure R two years ago, supporting the revitalization of downtown Berkeley? It is finally coming back to the City Council for a public hearing and it needs your support again.
A revitalized downtown will attract new jobs, increase economic vitality, improve public safety and increase our tax base. The Downtown Area Plan will open the way to new housing in green buildings and hopefully a new hotel. It preserves historic and cultural resources and it will attract more restaurants, shops and nightlife. It is good for business!
Please consider joining the Chamber and other community minded groups to show support for the new Downtown Plan. We will have YES! signs you can hold up so you don't need to speak or you can take the opportunity to tell the Council how you feel about it. We need to fill the audience with people who will encourage the Council to support the changes the voters asked for in Measure R.
We will gather at Old City Hall at 1934 Martin Luther King on the second floor.
The meeting starts at 7:00 P.M. but if you are there by 7:30 you will still be part of the crowd.
If you cannot attend, or for added support, please click below to connect with your City Councilmember by email and ask them to support the new Downtown Plan. Click Here for Email addresses.
March 2, 2012 - Article from BerkeleySide
Skydeck hopes to boost Berkeley-based tech startup
By: Lance Knobel
There’s a long-standing mismatch between the number of ventures spurred by innovations at the University of California Berkeley and Berkeley Lab and the number of those startups that locate in Berkeley. The Berkeley Skydeck startup accelerator, with 10,000 sq ft at the top of downtown’s tallest building, hopes to change that.
The Skydeck is a collaboration between the university’s College of Engineering, the Haas School of Business, the Vice Chancellor for Research office, Berkeley Lab, the City of Berkeley, the Downtown Berkeley Association, and the Chamber of Commerce. According to data the university has compiled, there are about 20 companies founded each year from campus and Lab innovations.
“This initiative is a perfect fit for a campus that is deeply engaged with and concerned about real-world challenges,” said Graham Fleming, vice chancellor for research. “We have long needed a space to help support the activities of the campus’ many outstanding entrepreneurs.”
Last summer, the Berkeley Skydeck, which is at 2150 Shattuck Avenue, launch received a $50,000 grant from the Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund to help support the facility’s infrastructure.
There are nine startup teams now in place at the Skydeck. They span software services, social networking and medical devices. Go Overseas, for example, aims to be the leader in study, work, and volunteer abroad program research and reviews. Mitch Gordon, CEO and co-founder, will be getting his MBA from Haas this year.
Other new companies include Kloudless, HealthyLabs, Building Robotics, GoMake.it, Hybrid Wisdom Labs, InSituGen, Intelligent Obstetrics, and Picatcha.
The student-led projects at Skydeck are monitored by university faculty who set and judge milestones. All the startup teams currently are sponsored by university entities.
The role of Berkeley Skydeck and other accelerators is among the topics we’ll be discussing at Startup Berkeley, the Berkeleyside Local Business Forum on Monday.
The Berkeleyside Local Business Forum 2012 is organized in partnership with Mechanics Bank, and is sponsored by GreenerPrinter and Autodesk. Updates on the Forum are posted regularly on the Startup Berkeley Forum Facebook page and on Twitter (#BerkForum).
When: Monday March 5th, 7:00- 9:00 pm. Doors open at 6:00 pm (time before and after for networking).
Where: Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street in downtown Berkeley. Refreshments, including beer and wine, available to purchase.
Tickets: $10 ($5 for students and seniors), available through Brown Paper Tickets. Or on the door.
Andronico’s Markets, the 82-year old supermarket chain founded in Berkeley, filed today for bankruptcy in Oakland. Four of the seven existing Andronico’s stores are in Berkeley: on Telegraph, Shattuck, University and Solano (the original store, founded in 1929).
Berkeleyside reported on the financial difficulties of the chain in May, and on a short-lived recapitalization plan.
The company’s announcement quotes CEO Bill Andronico today: “This is a bittersweet moment in our history. We have struggled mightily to keep going, but the combination of the economic downturn and a broken balance sheet was too heavy a burden.” In its bankruptcy filing, the chain listed debts of between $10 million and $50 million. The company is negotiating for financing and is also considering a sale to a private investor group.
The four Berkeley Andronico’s stores have been suffering recently from thin stocking of goods in comparison to local rivals. At the high end, it faces tough competition from two Berkeley Bowl locations and Whole Foods Markets. Safeway, which has ambitious plans to renovate its Berkeley and Berkeley-border sites, provides significant middle-market competition, and Costco in Richmond and Grocery Outlet (a Berkeley-based company) provide low-cost competition.
Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, a four-year old chain owned by the giant UK company Tesco, has been looking for a Berkeley site, according to people familiar with commercial property in the area. Depending on the financing Andronico’s secures from bankruptcy, at least one of the Berkeley Andronico’s sites might be a target.
NEW DIRECTION Arts & Crafts furniture store The Craftsman Home at 3048 Claremont Avenue closed its doors after many years on August 13. Owner Lee Jester says he’s moving on to new ventures, still specializing in American Craftsman-style home furnishings.
SHORT HOP Swiftly moving in to the old Craftsman Home space is clothing boutique Personal Pizazz, run by former BHS Vice-Principal Laura Leventer, which sells a wide range of separates and suits, formal as well as casual, and offers personal shopping. The store doesn’t have far to go as it is currently just around the corner at 2842 Prince Street.
SMOKIN’ Joshua Kemper opened Smokey J’s BBQ earlier this summer, and the place is getting great reviews from the likes of East Bay Express, Yelp and Chowhound. The Oakland native is serving Kansas City-style BBQ at 3015 Shattuck Avenue.
CHOCOHOLIC ALERT UC Berkeley graduate Arcelia Gallardo will open Casa de Chocolate in one of the former Wrights Garage retail spaces on Ashby at College. Gallardo’s passion is pre-Columbian culture, chocolate and food.
BEAUTY BEAT With its vibrant orange façade and powder blue door, you can’t miss Botanicá Oyá Niké, a cosmetics, beauty supplies, and perfume store, that recently opened at 3025 Adeline Street, near Ashby.
BEAUTY BEAT With its vibrant orange façade and powder blue door, you can’t miss Botanicá Oyá Niké, a cosmetics, beauty supplies, and perfume store, that recently opened at 3025 Adeline Street, near Ashby.
On Tuesday, Aaron and Monica Rocchino quietly opened the doors to their new business, an artisan butcher shop where the term “snout to tail” really comes into its own.
The Local Butcher Shop, in the old Red Hanger Kleaners space on Cedar Street in the Gourmet Ghetto, has already attracted dozens of curious foodies.
One-on-one customer service, offering cuts of meat hewed from whole carcasses, is the principal order of business. But providing some meat — most likely beef — to Aaron Rocchino’s former boss, Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, is also on the cards.
Rocchino joins a long line of Chez Panisse alumni who have gone on to open their own food businesses, many of them locally. He is also part of a movement centered in the Bay Area that is focused on the provenance of meat, sustainable raising methods and informed, responsible butchery.
The Rocchinos, who met when they were both working at Oliveto Restaurant nine years ago, have been working towards this moment for years. As Berkeleyside reported in May, the couple believe there’s a void in the market for restaurant-quality, sustainable meat for home customers.
Aaron and Monica Rocchino: their goal is to bring restaurant quality meat to the home cook
“Being in the restaurant business exposed us to great meats,” says Monica. “The impetus for us is that we wanted to get that quality to home cooks.
“Most stores sell boxed meats,” she continues. “And most restaurants don’t have the staff or space to accommodate whole animals. But farmers invest a lot of time and energy into raising their animals and we want to reflect that.”
Once its walk-in meat cooler is up and running, with its traditional hook-and-rail system, the new shop will be taking in whole carcasses of cows, pigs and sheep, and using every part of the animals, be it to create some stewing lamb, a jar of rendered fat, dog food or pork charcuterie.
The pair are also putting into play some innovative thinking when it comes to what they charge. They are implementing a “holistically structured” pricing system. This works by dividing up animals into three sections — front, middle and rear — and pricing accordingly. The thinking is that there is no rationale for charging more for so-called “choice” cuts of meat.
Butcher John Hogeland, who was previously at Whole Foods for 11 years, prepares cuts of meat at the newly opened Local Butchers Shop
“For the farmer and for us the costs are fixed. It was the meat packers and distributors who decided to put a value on certain cuts, like tenderloin or rib-eye steaks,” says Monica.
Aaron says there’s another reason some parts of the animal have traditionally been priced more highly: the easier it is to cook the more costly it will be. Cuts that require slow-cooking tend to be cheaper.
Thus, what the customer has come to consider as a higher quality cut will be selling for significantly less at The Local Butchers Shop than at other local stores.
Monica Rocchini behind the counter at the new butcher shop
The shop has been designed to look spotless and airy with an emphasis on transparency — butchers cut meat in full view of the customers, there’s a large viewing window on the meat cooler, and all the meat is displayed with chalk-board signs in frontfacing cases. “Nobody is going to turn their back on you while cutting or packing your meat,” says Monica.
The remodel was overseen by Andrea Ray Croyle from Berkeley architect firm Kahn Design Associates, and Kaufman Construction, also Berkeley-based. To save money, the couple did much of the work themselves, including painting the walls a combination of crisp white and black chalkboard. White subway tiles complete the clean look.
Roxy and Hubert Schaefer from Albany bought house-made pork fennel sausages at the new store on Thursday
The exposed wall of the meat cooler is clad in reclaimed redwood. “It was the fence of neighbors of friends in San Rafael,” says Monica. “We took it home and power-washed it, then spent 13 hours installing it.”
Everything sold in the store, apart from spices – including all the meats, the rubs and vinegars, marinades and artisan sodas — comes from no more than 150 miles away.
The farmers who supply The Local Butcher Shop include Mac Magruder of Ingel-Haven Ranch in Potter Valley, Mendocino (beef and pork), Hudson Ranch (pork) and Don Watson (lamb), both in Napa, Phillip Paine in Sonoma (squab), Liberty Farm in Sonoma (duck), Bill Niman of BN Ranch in Bolinas (turkey), Mark Pasternak of Devil’s Gulch Ranch in Nicasio (rabbit), Riverdog Farm in Yolo County (pork), and Gleason Ranch in Bodega (chicken and pork).
Meat cuts are priced according to their location on the animal -- front, middle or rear
The Local Butcher Shop has a staff of nine as well as the Rocchinos. They are Ross Woller who came from Oenotri Restaurant in Napa and is in charge of all the charcuterie and “added value” products, Seth Crabtree who hails from charcuterie company Boccalone, sandwich master Kel Troughton, Bill McCann who has worked as a butcher for 40 years, John Hogeland who was at Whole Foods for 11 years, Liz Halbig who went to culinary school, works at Holistic Hound and is an expert on dog food, and Enrique Martinez who splits his time between the shop and his other post as a server at Chez Panisse.
The store sells a daily sandwich — on Tuesday it was braised Magruder pork shoulder with grilled onions, tomato, mixed greens and feta on an Acme herb deli roll, Wednesday was roast beef.
“We have an idea of a place where people come in and sip wine and nibble on charcuterie while they choose their meat,” says Aaron. This concept will need to remain unrealized for now, however, as the pair don’t have the required permits for serving drinks.
“But one day, perhaps,” says Monica. “Either here or maybe somewhere else.”
It’s clear this energetic couple has “the vision thing” down pat. Meanwhile, they have a new business to run. The Local Butcher Shop has its grand opening on Tuesday August 30, but is serving customers now.
A viewing window has been cut into a wall of reclaimed redwood to allow customers to look into the shop's meat cooler
The complicated relationship between UC Berkeley and the City of Berkeley, sometimes rewarding, sometimes vexed, will come under the spotlight this fall in a series of discussions titled The University and the City: Ideas for Partnership.
The first of the evening discussions, on the controversial idea of creating a student-majority City Council district, will be next Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church on Dana Street. Panelists include Councilmember Kriss Worthington, Berkeley political science professor Bruce Cain, and vice-president for external affairs of the Associated Students of the University of California Joey Freeman. Berkeleyside’s Lance Knobel will moderate the discussion.
“The relationship between the city and the campus has been strained over the last few decades,” said Councilmember Laurie Capitelli, who has been instrumental in organizing the series. “All of us felt that the more lines of communication that we opened up, the more collaboration there will be.”
The second discussion, on Wednesday, October 19, at Berkeley City College, will examine Berkeley and environmental sustainability. The panel will consist of Timothy Burroughs, climate action coordinator for the City of Berkeley, Lisa McNeilly, UC Berkeley’s director of sustainability, Jason Trager, environmental sustainability director for the Graduate Student Assembly, and Claire Evans, lead coordinator of the UC Berkeley Compost Alliance. Jason Mark, editor of the Earth Island Journal will moderate.
The final discussion asks “How can we improve our arts, food and entertainment districts?” To be held on Wednesday, November 9, at a venue still to be confirmed, it will include Jim Peters, president of the Responsible Hospitality Institute, David Mayeri, former COO of Bill Graham Presents, Kemi Amin, program director of Buy Local Berkeley, and Noah Stern, former president of ASUC. Polly Armstrong, CEO of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, will moderate.
This series is sponsored by the Office of Mayor Tom Bates, Councilmembers Laurie Capitelli, Darryl Moore and Susan Wengraf, UC Berkeley Office of Government and Community Relations, Berkeley City College, Berkeley Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Berkeley Association, Telegraph Business Improvement District, Livable Berkeley, as well as Berkeleyside.
COFFEE CLOSE-UPS Peet’s Tea & Coffee is to open a new store in the old A’Cuppa Tea space on the corner of College and Alcatraz Avenues, no doubt sending shivers down the spines of Cole Coffee aficionados which is at the other end of the block at 2007 College. It will be the ninth Berkeley store for Peet’s which was founded in the city in 1966. As we reported in July, A’Cuppa Tea is shunting down to 2992 College in the Elmwood, into one of the spaces formerly occupied by H. Tulanian & Sons Oriental Rug Cleaning & Repair.
SOLANO MOVES Rumor has it an independent pharmacy is to move into the former Three Goddesses dance studio at 1831 Solano, next door to the still vacant Front Row video store. Details when we have them.
Spa Organica on Colusa
BEAUTY BLITZ Aloe-cucumber hydration or chocolate-mint dream facials are available at the eco-organic Spa Organica that opened this summer at 884 Colusa Avenue. The spa uses only organic, vegan and eco-friendly products and offers make-up services, waxing, massage, and spa parties too (hat tip: Wendy Cohen).
New: Indian restaurant Zaika
NEW FLAVORS A Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony was held last week to mark the official opening of Indian restaurant Zaika at 2050 University Avenue in the historic Koerber Building. The eatery, which began serving customers on August 4, offers “authentic cuisine from the Indian sub-continent” and prides itself on being kid- and student-friendly. Sports games are shown on a big flat screen TV.
HOMERIC CUISINE Troy, a new Greek restaurant in the Elmwood at 2985 College, has taken over the Marc 49 wine bar space, which itself superseded Flame Burger only last year. The space has seen rapid turnover of late. Troy specializes in wraps, such as the Melitzano with grilled eggplant, red pepper and capers, as well as the expected Souvlakis, and a range of entrées.
WALK THE WALK Mark your calendars: A host of restaurants and food businesses are taking part in the Solano Avenue Restaurant Walk on Tuesday, October 4th, 6-9pm. The line-up includes Bistro 1491, The Cape Cod, iScream!, Jerusalem Organic Kitchen, Solano Grill & Bar, Timbao and The Xocolate Bar. Tickets cost $20 and are available by calling organizers Albany and West Berkeley Lions Club on 510-401 7759.